Cavern Club Liverpool Takes on the Hard Rock Cafe!
Liverpool’s legendary Cavern Club is going to court with Hard Rock in
a bid to end a 20-year David and Goliath row...
A HARD DAY’S FIGHT
PAUL, GEORGE, RINGO, DAVID & GOLIATH
legendary Cavern Club is going to court in a bid to end a 20-year David and
Goliath row over who is entitled to own the rights to its name – ‘the place
where it all began’ or a Hard Rock cafe in Boston, Massachusetts, where Brian
Epstein didn’t discover The Beatles.
The Liverpool club which is
visited by more than 750,000 Beatles pilgrims each year argues that the giant
Hard Rock group has no right to claim ownership to the name which it trademarked
‘Cavern Club’ in the US very shortly after The Cavern Club itself indicated that
it was aiming to do so.
battles have raged with the Hard Rock since 1994 but the billion-dollar burger
chain which has more than 175 outlets in 55 countries won’t budge on its refusal
to accept the whole of music history’s acknowledgement that The Cavern Club is
synonymous with the tiny Liverpool basement where The Beatles phenomenon was
born – and not with a room in the Boston Hard Rock which is used for music
playing and billiards.
Now the owners of the Liverpool club – who
include John Lennon’s sister – are to ask a Florida court to throw out the Hard
Rock’s undeserved claim to the Cavern Club name.
The lawsuit is being
filed in Florida because Orlando is the base of the Hard Rock Corporation.
Florida is also the home of the Seminole Tribe of Native Americans who bought
the Hard Rock chain in 2007 for $965 Million.
The chairman of the
Seminole Tribal Council, James E. Billie, is a highly-respected musician who
performs under the name Chief Jim Billie. The Cavern Club is appealing to him as
a Grammy-nominated musician to personally intervene, light-heartedly offering
‘if we can work this out we’ll give you a gig where The Beatles
‘We are sure that as a musician Chief Jim Billie will see the
history and the right to our claim,’ said Cavern Club director Bill
‘This trademark row began long before the Seminole Tribe took
ownership of the Hard Rock, so we don’t consider it’s of their
He added, jokingly: ‘If Chief Jim Billie instructs the Hard
Rock to try to see it our way not only will right be done but we’ll put him and
his band on at The Cavern Club as part of the deal.’
The Hard Rock has
registered the US rights to use the Cavern Club name for any room at its outlets
in the US and Mexico. The principal outlet currently promoting a ‘Cavern Club’
on the premises is the Hard Rock café in Boston, where the name is used to
promote a billiards room that is also used as a live music venue. The Hard Rock
also has another ‘Cavern Club’ in Las Vegas.
The walls of the Boston
‘Cavern Club’ are covered with memorabilia of rock bands including Aerosmith,
Nirvana, Bon Jovi, Van Halen, The Grateful Dead and Donna Summer – none of which
bands ever played at the real Cavern Club in Liverpool.
‘It is absurd
for a billiards room in Boston to be passed off as having anything whatsoever to
do with the history and heritage of music’s most famous club in the world,’ said
Cavern Club director Dave Jones in Liverpool.
‘The Boston Hard Rock is
also selling merchandise not only with the words Cavern Club on it but also
bearing an image of the facia of the real Cavern Club in Liverpool and an image
of Beatles boots. It’s an outrageous insinuated claim to an association with
fame that has nothing whatsoever to do with them.
‘The Cavern in
Liverpool is a historic British landmark and, for music, a world heritage site. The Beatles
played at The Cavern 292 times, they didn’t play once at a billiards bar in
‘Paul McCartney made music history and headline news aroundthe
world in 1999 by deliberately marking the end of the Millennium with a gig at
The Cavern in his hometown of Liverpool. He
said at the time ‘I want to end the Millennium by playing where it all began’.
He didn’t say ‘I wish I could mark this historic moment by playing at the Boston
Hard Rock where beggar-all began’.
‘The Cavern Club in Liverpool is not universally
known as the most famous club in the world for nothing; The Rolling Stones, The
Who, The Yardbirds, The Kinks, Elton John and many, many others all played here
as they were becoming famous, The Cavern in Liverpool is the birthplace of rock
and we own that birthright.
‘We even had Chuck Berry in The Cavern Club
because, like the other 750,000 visitors that The Cavern has each year, he
wanted to see the birthplace of it all. I was in his car outside the club
talking to him about the nostalgia, but at no point did he ask me for directions
to the Hard Rock in Boston.
‘In recent years, Jake Bugg, The Wanted and
Jessie J have all played the Cavern and Adele launched her second album here.
The Arctic Monkeys, Oasis and Travis did gigs here too and all of these bands
chose to play here because The Cavern in Liverpool is an acknowledged centre of
the rock and roll scene.
‘The Hard Rock does not need the rights to the
name of the Cavern Club for its massive business to succeed and we are very much
the David in this battle against Goliath, we’re no threat to the Hard
‘But although no music fan in their right mind would believe now
that a Boston burger café has anything to do with the history of The Beatles and
the legacy of rock music, what could happen in the future if we do not fight for
right and for our rights?
‘If this dispute is not put right, perhaps in
some decades’ time kids might be confused into believing that the four lads who
actually changed the world from a cellar bar in Liverpool instead started out at
a Hard Rock. And that would be a travesty of history and a tragedy for music
heritage. The Cavern doesn’t look for a fight, it’s not in our nature, but we
owe it to every music lover on the planet to get this put